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Orbán courts diaspora vote for 2014 election

Government

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán urged Hungary’s large ethnic diaspora on Wednesday to exercise their newly-won right to vote in next year’s national election, hoping they will help to further cement his grip on power, local media has reported.

Several million ethnic Hungarians live in neighboring Romania, Serbia and Ukraine and elsewhere, descendants of Hungarians who found themselves outside their homeland when the country’s borders were redrawn at the end of World War I.

Using a change in citizenship rules pushed through by Orbán’s governing conservative Fidesz party, nearly half a million members of the diaspora have applied for Hungarian citizenship, which gives them the right to register to take part in elections, including a parliamentary vote expected next April or May.

“I count on your support just like you can count on the support of the Hungarian government and my personal support,” Orbán was quoted as telling representatives of the diaspora at a meeting in parliament.

According to Hungarian National Election Office, about 50,000 outside of Hungary are expected to vote in the next election.

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